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Delete email in Mail without showing next message Apps
One of the "features" in Apple's Mail program that has always annoyed me is how it handles messages after doing a delete operation. If you press Delete to throw away the message you're currently looking at, Mail displays the next message (marking it read in the process). While I like the fact that Mail marks displayed messages as read, I have always found it annoying that it displays a message that I have not specifically selected (and then marks it as read).

There's a way around this. Instead of pressing Delete, press Option-Delete. With this shortcut (which doesn't show up in the Edit menu), Mail deletes the currently-displayed message and then does nothing at all, and the next message is not displayed. This is exactly what I want -- I now must explicitly tell Mail when I want a message to be displayed.

I expect I can make this the default using the Keyboard Shortcuts tab in the Keyboard System Preferences panel, but I have yet to play with that.

[robg adds: It doesn't appear you can change the shortcut for Delete to Option-Delete, because OS X won't let you use the Delete key as part of a shortcut.]
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Delete email in Mail without showing next message | 17 comments | Create New Account
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Delete email in Mail without showing next message
Authored by: scotty321 on Nov 04, '09 07:43:47AM

You could use a program like Keyboard Maestro to help with this.



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Delete email in Mail without showing next message
Authored by: fulmar2 on Nov 04, '09 08:17:33AM

There is a slider bar that controls the "preview pane" - if you drag the slider to the bottom, it eliminates the preview pane. If you do this, you will have to double click any message to open it. If you delete a message, a new one will not be opened. This fact bothered me too - sometimes junkmail would automatically be opened. Entourage (and even Outlook) work the same way. As such, none of my mail clients have the preview pane enabled.



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Delete email in Mail without showing next message
Authored by: Geobunny on Nov 04, '09 08:18:12AM
Woah hold on there. I've always wanted Mail to have a feature to open the next message automatically - Eudora does it but Mail doesn't. I've never managed to get Mail to do it! Whoever posted this hint can swap machines with me if he wants!

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Delete email in Mail without showing next message
Authored by: Geobunny on Nov 04, '09 08:19:26AM

Never mind. Fulmar's response (which arrived as I typed mine) explains it. I don't use the preview pane.



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Delete email in Mail without showing next message
Authored by: horhey23 on Nov 04, '09 08:50:14AM

Great tip!

For those struggling with the preview pane's lack of delay on marking as read, see the True Preview plugin for Apple Mail.



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Awesome.
Authored by: chrisfriend on Nov 04, '09 08:50:24AM

Excellent little tip. Simple, efficient, and a HUGE time/frustration-saver. Somewhat embarrassed I never thought to try that. :-)



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Delete and display next one DOWN?
Authored by: robleach on Nov 04, '09 09:22:58AM

Is it possible to make the next message displayed be the one below the last one deleted instead of above the first one deleted? I'd prefer to go through my email top-down instead of bottom up without changing the current ordering. The way I currently have it ordered: most recent to least recent from top down. Sometimes I like to traverse my email top-down and whenever I do (using the arrow key) and I decide to delete one (and have marked the one above it explicitly as unread because I want to go back to it later), mail marks the one I'd previously explicitly marked as unread, read - annoying. Perhaps mail should recognize by default that I'm traversing down instead of up and default to the one below when I'm doing that. If I option-delete, I'd have to explicitly click on the next message, which I'd rather not have to do. Is there a shortcut to delete and traverse down?



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Delete and display next one DOWN?
Authored by: ptwithy on Nov 05, '09 05:29:01AM

I reported this as a bug to Apple and was told that it was "working as intended". They just don't get that not everyone wants to visit their mail in chronological order...



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Delete and display next one DOWN?
Authored by: pgaiduk on Mar 10, '10 02:31:32PM

Did you ever find a way to accomplish this? This feature annoys the heck out of me after using Outlook and others. I'm almost ready to bail on Mail. Tech support told me as you that it was normal. They actually suggested moving to Thunderbird. There's got to be a line in the code somewhere that dictates the next or previous selection.



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Delete email in Mail without showing next message
Authored by: bhippel on Nov 04, '09 10:22:41AM

Awesome tip! That's one of the things that always kept me from using the three-panel view. Good one!



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Delete email in Mail without showing next message
Authored by: osxpounder on Nov 04, '09 10:28:38AM

Nice find. Thanks!



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Delete email in Mail without showing next message
Authored by: UniAce on Nov 04, '09 09:18:33PM

Great hint. I'd previously discovered another non-intuitive way to do this: click and drag an email to the trash (either the trash in the Dock, or the trash in Mail). This deletes the email, does not mark it as read, and keeps the preview panel displaying whatever email was already being displayed (i.e., it doesn't automatically display the email after the deleted one).

It's great to know there's a keyboard shortcut for this too.



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Delete email in Mail without showing next message
Authored by: mikemunyi on Nov 04, '09 10:21:50PM

While it is not documented anywhere I can find, this tip has actually been around at least since Mail for OS 10.4. I use it pretty much daily. I do know that I found out about it from some forum or other, but can't even begin to figure out where.

Regards



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Be Careful with This
Authored by: dmbrown on Nov 05, '09 11:46:17AM

Note that deleting a message with option-delete does not move the message to your Trash folder - it will completely erase the message. Too bad, because I'd like to be able to delete a message and not necessarily move to the next one in Mail, but I want deleted messages in the Trash.

---
Mac Pro (2009), 10.6.1; MacBook Pro (June 2009) 10.6.1; MacBook Air (2008), 10.6.1, PowerMac G5 (late 2006), 10.5.8, iPhone 3GS



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Be Careful with This
Authored by: Anonymous on Nov 06, '09 02:08:12PM

Thanks for the alert. Now if only this were a wiki, we could put that into the hint body...



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Be Careful with This
Authored by: hazmat on Nov 10, '09 05:08:38PM

From what I can tell, this depends on what email provider you use. It doesn't show up in MobileMe trash, but does for Gmail (at least via IMAP). So far I can reproduce this 100%; every message I've Option-Deleted in Mail from my Gmail IMAP account has shown up in my trash.



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Delete email in Mail without showing next message
Authored by: freebird300 on Dec 12, '11 10:11:56AM

I may be too late, but I found a GREAT tip somewhere else...

Click here: http://support.indev.ca/discussions/using-mail-acton/104-after-moving-a-message-to-a-new-folder-highlight-the-next-message

It was driving me crazy,s o I just kept looking. I am on OS lion. Hope this helps. :)



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